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Writer John Grisham paid not to be a guest speaker and concert pianist Philip Fortenberry paid not to perform. A restaurant even paid not to host the event. Such is the way the Baptist Student Union at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gulfport raised about $7,000 to send students on worldwide missions. The group called it the "Not Another Banquet." Grisham and Fortenberry were on a list of people asked to pay for the privilege of staying home. The list of no-show guests included lawyers, doctors and government officials. "It started as an idea I had last year when I was getting ready to go to a banquet and I thought `I would pay not to have to do this,' " said Tim Thomas, the group's director.

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